BOOK SHELF Three recent books offer Lions insight and inspiration. “Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story” By Ed Lucas and Christopher Lucas Jeter Publishing A Lion since 1970, Ed Lucas covered the New York Yankees as a pioneering sports journalist despite being blinded as a boy after being hit by a baseball. Off the field he also battled to overcome perceptions about his disability: in a heartbreaking legal tussle he lost custody of his sons. Through charm and persistence, he hobnobbed with Yankee greats like Phil Rizzuto and spent time with well-known men like Richard Nixon and Bob Hope. Lucas credits Lions for supporting him and the school for the blind he attended as a child and raised funds for as a staffer. His tale is a tribute to the staying power of faith, family, baseball and Lions. “What Is Visible” Kimberly Elkins Twelve Books Born in 1829 and becoming blind and deaf at age 2 from scarlet fever, Laura Bridgman was one of the most famous women of her time. She was the first deaf and blind person to learn language. In this extraordinary fictional biography Bridgman meets Helen Keller as a child and encounters Charles Dickens and eminent abolitionists of the time as she forms intense attachments and embodies the grand possibilities of people, despite disability. Bridgman understands that when people meet her she is “a present to them all from God, to show how little one can possess of what we think it means to be human while still possessing full humanity.” “The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community” Marc J. Dunkelman W.W. Norton and Company American life has changed irrevocably. Routines that once put doctors and lawyers in touch with plumbers and grocers— interactions crucial to social cohesion and compromises—have gone by the wayside. Journalist Dunkelman deftly explores the evolution of the U.S. societal framework and the erosion of relationships across neighborhoods and socioeconomic classes. The digital revolution has reordered social life. The book covers some of the same ground as did Robert Putnam’s seminal “Bowling Alone,” which traced the decline of civic engagement and the reduced role and influence of groups such as the PTA, church groups and volunteer associations. “The Vanishing Neighbor” argues that to put us on the right track we need to adapt yesterday’s institutions to the realities of contemporary life. Overheard “Hi, Dyllan, I love you.” —Stephanie VanLeishout, addressing her 10-month-old daughter, who turned her head to the sound. Dyllan, who suffers from hearing loss, received hearing aids from the Lions Club Loaner Hearing Aid Bank for the state of Idaho. From MagicalValley.com. “We can’t be leaving everything to the Lions club.” —From an editorial in the Cowichan News Leader in British Columbia, Canada, after a resident was denied government funding for an insulin pump to manage her diabetes. The Duncan Lions Club paid for the device. “We wanted something new, something different for those who have come out to our event for the past few years. And who doesn’t like to laugh?” —Tom Milhous, vice president of the Brigantine Lions Club in New Jersey, on adding a comedy show to its annual dinner. From The Press of Atlantic City. THESE LIONS ARE NO DUMMIES Seeing is believing when it comes to hearing. Lions in District 20 Y2 in New York trot out “Boomer Bob” and “Audible Annie,” two mannequins equipped with sound-level meters and lifelike silicon ears, for vivid demonstrations of the potentially damaging effects of iPods and other noises. Bob and Annie are plug and play: an iPod can be plugged into an ear. Or they can measure the sound in a room such as an aerobics class with loud music. “They’re built to test the level of sound,” says Sandra Clark of the district’s Lions Hearing Conservation Society. “When you listen to your iPad the ear piece goes right into the ear. There is nothing to absorb the sound.” Supported by most of the district’s clubs, the society raises awareness of hearing loss, recycles hearing aids and loans out amplification devices. Bob and Annie visit clubs, YMCAs and health fairs. Bob is kept by the society, and Annie belongs to the Saratoga Springs Lions, though they sometimes make joint appearances. “Annie has a little more clothes than Bob,” jokes Clark. LIONS GAIN GREAT PUBLICITY A well-done, very watchable TV ad for Microsoft featuring spirited Special Olympics athletes recently aired during the network evening news, “60 Minutes,” on ESPN, CNN and on other prominent shows and networks. Microsoft worked with Special Olympics on the ad, which relates how Special Olympics uses Microsoft Cloud to manage data for its 4.8 million athletes. For much of the commercial the athletes are seen wearing shirts with the logo of another of its partners: Lions Clubs International. Grateful for Lions’ support such as eye screenings, Special Olympics opted to give Lions some free and very positive recognition. LONG-DISTANCE TRAVELERS REFUEL, LIONS-STYLE Travelers on Interstate 29 in South Dakota exiting a rest stop near Sioux City this summer chowed down on Lions’ pancakes. Vermillion Lions have set up their grills and served patrons for four days in late July or early August for 12 years. The club holds the breakfast in conjunction with the huge Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which draws nearly half a million people. The club accepts a free will offering. “People are more generous on their way to somewhere than on their way back,” quips Lion Maxine Johnson, 82, a great-grandmother and a retired high school English teacher. Some give $50 and others 25 cents. Many return year after year. “They remember us a lot better than we can remember them,” says Johnson. The rest stop has several advantages. The vending machine there dispenses only drinks. The nearest McDonald’s is six miles away in town. And a friendly local farmer lets the club put up signs for the breakfast on his property off the interstate. “You remember the nice places, and this is a great place to stop, especially in the morning. I’m recharged and ready to get back on the road again,” Gary Rhinebarger, headed on his motorcycle to Sturgis from Kokomo, Indiana, told the local newspaper. This year the club made $3,000, which will help fund the W.H. Over Museum in Vermillion, the state’s oldest museum. The most heartfelt donation in recent years came from a North Carolinian panhandling his way back home and sleeping for the time under a bridge. The Lions fed him for free a few times and even provided him with glasses. Before he left the area, he gave the Lions, despite their protestations, a bag with $40 in change. MASSES OF EYEGLASSES The 15 district governors-elect in California coordinated a Lions Eyes Across California on one day in March. Their goal was to collect 15,000 eyeglasses for recycling. Lions in the state took in more than 50,000. Inmates at Folsom State Prison helped recycle the glasses. Since 1989, inmates there have worked with Lions to record books on tape, create Braille books and maps and otherwise assist the blind. By the Numbers 7 Upper-level Spanish students at Hinsdale South High School in Illinois who called families to confirm addresses and other details before Darien Lions delivered meals and gifts. 32,000 Ounces of Georgia peanuts sold by Hartwell Lions of Georgia. 15 Members of the Visalia Pride, Visalia Sunset and Fresno Pride Lions Clubs in California who painted the white picket fence of a literacy center. 8 Duration in weeks of a training session held at the Ferguson Township Lions Club in Pennsylvania to teach independent living skills to people with visual impairment. 300 Hams awarded at the clay pigeon shoot sponsored by Bountiful Lions in Utah. 49 Community groups that received donations at the Cheque Night of the Mississauga Central Lions in Ontario, Canada. 30 Percentage of the holdings of Libby Memorial Library displayed at the clubhouse of Old Orchard Beach Lions in Maine during the library’s renovation. 85 Hours clocked hand-trimming overgrown bushes, removing old trees and installing new fences and gates at historic Merrill Cemetery in Slabtown, Missouri, by Plato Roby Northwest Texas County Lions and other volunteers. 44 Height in inches of a plush lion given to the winner of a writing contest held for elementary school students by Great Bend Noon Lions in Kansas. The winner also named the local zoo’s new lion cub “King Louie.” Digital LION Read about books of special interest to Lions at lionmagazine.org (June 2007 LION). Watch the Special Olympics ad at lionmagazine.org.
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